Russian Invasion Satellite Image-Maker Maxar Technologies Sold for $6.4 Billion

Private equity firm Advent International will acquire Maxar Technologies, a space company the wider world first learned about from its high-resolution satellite images of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in a $6.4 billion deal.

Boston-based Advent, which has $89 billion in assets under management, will acquire all outstanding shares of Maxar common stock for $53 per share in cash, more than double the price on Maxar’s final trading day as a public company.

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The transaction will help Colorado-based Maxar “to accelerate investment in and development of the company’s next-generation satellite technologies and data insights for its customers,” the company said in a statement.

Maxar, the U.S. government’s chief supplier of satellite imagery, will remain a U.S.-controlled and operated company under the deal. In May, it secured a $3.2 billion agreement with the National Reconnaissance Office to provide imagery for the next decade.

It also operates a Palo Alto satellite factory responsible in the past 30 years for delivering more than 100 large geostationary communications satellites. Lately, due to falling commercial orders, Maxar has been going after defense and intelligence contracts.

With the acquisition, which is set to close in mid-2023, Maxar said it will be better positioned to complete its $600 million WorldView Legion imaging constellation of eight satellites.

Under the previous plan, “we wouldn’t have started spending on them until the tail end of 2024, maybe the beginning of 2025,” Daniel Jablonsky, Maxar’s President and Chief Executive Officer, told SpaceNews. “This allows us to go faster and get those birds up sooner for our customers.”

Maxar became a U.S. corporation in 2020 when the company spun off its Canadian subsidiary MDA. MDA had purchased the Palo Alto-based satellite manufacturer Space Systems/Loral in 2012, and in 2017 acquired the Colorado-based Earth-imaging firm DigitalGlobe. The combined companies were rebranded Maxar Technologies in 2018.

“With approximately $28 billion invested across the defense, security, and cybersecurity sectors in the last three years, Advent’s portfolio companies have substantial expertise supporting many satellite and defense platforms which serve the U.S. government and its allies as well as companies across the globe,” Advent said in a statement at the time of the deal.